The boat’s righting

As the hull leaned,
Under windward strain –
Perilously exposing its deck,
Like an open mouth
Ready to gulp the ocean –
She climbed the mainmast
(Although how, she did not know),
And once atop leaned out
Leeward, facing the storm
With all its blustering rage.
As she hung there, cruciform,
The hull righted and all souls
Aboard were rescued from the
Swallowing sea.
As she maintained her position,
Painfully exposed, she heard
On the wind a silent whisper,
“Hold fast to righteousness
And do not be afraid,
For this storm turns the tide,
And clears away the dead wood
And all that is not held fast;
This lifeboat will not succumb,
For you are its righting, and in
The morning’s calm you will
Lead my people ashore to
Rebuild a new land, patterned
On my kingdom.”

Thou genesis word

Be formed in me,
Thou genesis word,
Thou Logos which wert
And art, forevermore;
Thou Word spoken
In the beginning,
And now being heard
For such a time as this.
Form me around thee
Living Word made flesh;
Once, then, as Immanuel
And again, now, in thy
Body Temple.
Expand my spirit
Through thine own;
A new wineskin transformed
From the old, lain down.
Then pour thyself forth
Into me that I might overflow
With thee, and with creation
All, proclaim thy glories —
Thy cross and resurrection —
As an emissary shaped, living,
By thy genesis word.

Blessed

Blessed are those whose kingdom is heaven,
For they are poor in spirit.

Blessed are those who have been comforted,
For they have mourned.

Blessed are those who have inherited the earth,
For they are meek.

Blessed are those who are satisfied,
For they have been hungry and thirsty for righteousness.

Blessed are those who have received mercy,
For they are merciful.

Blessed are those who have seen God,
For they are pure in heart.

Blessed are those who are called sons of God,
For they are peacemakers.

Blessed are those whose kingdom is heaven,
For they are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.

Rejoice and be glad, all those whose reward in heaven is great,
For you have been persecuted and evilly and falsely spoken against,
For so it is with all prophets.

 

Full

My life is full.
I have witnessed the birth of my child,
And held the hand of my dying mother.
I have had good health and vitality,
And suffered from injury and disease.
I have known comfort and success,
And endured sleepless nights of worry.
I have achieved outstanding results,
And failed at often simple tests.
I have loved and been loved,
And been betrayed and hurt others.
I have given and received wisdom,
And practised and dispensed folly.
I have been overwhelmed by joy,
And flooded with despair.
My life is full,
And there is more to come,
And although I don’t know what
Today or tomorrow may bring,
The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy,
But I choose to live life in all its fullness.

Grace

As the Godhead gathered in Heaven, the Father turned to the Son and said, “I love you with the very essence of my being. You are for me the very expression of love itself, and your essence is true love. I delight in you with all of my being and the reality of your being increases and enhances my love, for in you it finds its perfect expression.”

On hearing this, the Son turned to the Father and said, “Truly, truly You are for me a Father. Your heart is overflowing love, for surely I am an expression of that overflow. Your love for me is life for me. To receive your love is to know life, and to love you back is life overflowing.”

The Father, moved by His Son’s words, had an idea. “My greatest and deepest desire is to love you even more, yet within this relationship alone you are limited to only being able to receive my love and the Spirit’s love. Although there is no greater or more complete love possible, yet I desire to love you more. Therefore, I will create for you a universe made of the very essence of our being; not made of us, but from us, as a reflection of us, so that in and through it you can discover even greater dimensions and depths of my love for you.”

The Son was pleased, yet at that moment experienced for the first time something unexpected; he experienced sadness. As the very idea of his Father creating a universe to express his love for him entered his mind, the Son realised that anything made that was not in itself part of their shared being would be inferior to them and would, necessarily, be prone to imperfection and loss. Furthermore, the Son realised that for such a universe to exist it would require creatures with the ability to experience and express love, and for that to be possible, it would also be possible for these creatures to reject love and to turn to hatred.

The Son replied, “Father, if you create for us a universe beyond ourselves, with creatures that can express our love, then surely they might also reject our love. Why would you risk allowing the rejection of our perfect mutual love?”

The Father, smiling, replied, “I will not make this universe from our love alone; I will also make it with grace. Even if the entirety of it, and every creature in it, were to reject our love, grace would still provide a way for love to win through. Grace will continually offer our love, over and over, until one being in this universe finally receives and expresses true, pure, perfect love back to us. Even if no being is able ever to receive and return our love perfectly, grace will still give meaning to my creation.”

”Then let me share in this great creation,” said the Son. ”Let your grace and love flow through me that the universe might indeed be made for me. If there is no being capable of receiving and returning our love, let me be that being, that the universe will always have someone to complete your work. Let your grace provide a way for your perfect love – our complete love – to overcome the very worst imperfections and rejection of our love. If it would fulfil your desire, let me give even my life so that grace might always produce the highest expression of love even at its point of greatest rejection.”

The Father and the Son agreed and sent forth their Spirit to create for them this universe which would fulfil their desire for increased love.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Abba – Mary – Jesus

Abba!
Do you see me?
Do you know the depths
Of my suffering?
Do you feel my pain,
Or simply see it from afar?
Am I really yours?
Do I belong to you?
Are you really mine?
Is this suffering a cup
From which you too have drunk?
Show me how to be fully surrendered
To your will, that I may be fully your son.

Mary!
I thought I’d lost you.
Why did I not recognise you,
Even though you said you would be here?
Why can I not cling to you?
As you call me by my name
It is enough, and yet I know the wounds
Are still there, and the fear of the loss
Of you overwhelmed me.
Why do I doubt your love,
Your undivided attention towards me,
When you look me in the eye and say my name
Like no one else can?

Jesus!
Help me find my wounds in your wounds,
That by your wounds I may be healed.
You have taken upon yourself all my iniquities;
All the ways I have acted out of my wounds.
If you forgive me, then I know I am forgiven.
If you forgive me, I know I can forgive those
Who wounded me, and by my wounds
(bound with your wounds)
Release healing, renewal and resurrection power.
Today, in my suffering, you declare I will be with you
In paradise; help me find that place of peace.
And help me to be that place for others.

The Cowboy & The Lady

As the Cowboy strode into town
That cool March night,
Did he know his destination would be,
In fact, a rendezvous with destiny?
Did he imagine that a fancy-dress frolic
In Manchester’s Fab Café would end
The night as a fateful flirtation?

As the Lady boarded her Magic bus,
Persuaded by her friends to soirée,
Did she anticipate her fate as she made
A last minute decision to stay out late?
Was she prepared for her heart to skip a beat
As, with signature ‘pistol’ dance moves,
The cowboy wooed her in his booted feet?

As they make their vows today, committing
Their futures to each other, would they say,
With hindsight, that it was love at first sight?
Surely they would answer, “yes” and “oh yeah!”
Because the love they feel now was also
Felt then, even as a spark, or a seed.
The spark fanned into a passioned flame,
And the seed has grown in their hearts
Into a tree of life, with hope that one day
There might be a nest amongst its branches.

Maybe it was destiny; maybe it was fate
That their destination would be a
Wedding day at this little old train station.
They may never know the reason why
They arrived at their good fortune, but
Today that cowboy’s hitched to his bride,
And Amanda’s got a man to hug and kiss.
And as they tie the knot, forsaking all others,
Our Daniel completes the tale for us of
“Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”.

For Dan and Amanda
on their Wedding Day, 19th May 2017

He composes for Angels now

Words
Have become
Fewer
Now.

The prayers have been offered;
The sermons delivered;
The books written;
The hymns (and ditties) sung.

The poetry
– oh the fabulous, fathomless poetry –
Has been mastered and subdued;
Bent and wrought to express
A beauty inexpressible.

Few preachers can dive the depths to uncover such a fresh pearl;
Fewer poets can trap time and compress space into such a vivid homily.

Yet words cannot contain the landscapes of eternity,
Or the unspoken language of soul and Spirit.
For even this poem stands, forlorn, at the edge
Of a greater expanse of sublime orchestration.

Where symphony and melody,
Intimacy and ecstasy
Combine
In perfect harmony,
Arraying themselves in a garment
Of pure, shimmering praise.

For though
Words
Have become
Fewer
Now…

Yet the
Music
Has become
Greater
Now.

And in that Heavenly throng
Of praise unending,
(of the Lamb who too was slain),
He has no time or space for words:

He composes for Angels now.


For Allyn.
From your beloved friend (and student). March 2017

If it is your will

If it is your will
That I drink this
Cup of suffering
Then let it not pass by.
I trust you Abba knowing
That what you offer me
Is not the suffering itself
But the life of joy it delivers.
Therefore with this joy
Set out before me, may I
Endure in this labour
Knowing that your love
Endures forever.

(A prayer for Allyn, my dear friend and brother)